What other automaker would spend the time and expense of developing a new airbag just because, you know, airbags could be better? The same one who developed a new rail car for the same reason. The Japanese automaker has developed a new airbag it claims will give drivers better protection in accidents. The shaped bag uses a spiral seam to induce more even inflation, which provides a larger surface area and creates uniform pressure around the bag more quickly than in a conventional airbag system. Thus, the driver is cushioned sooner. The i-SRS system also uses a gas release valve that helps control airbag deployment and pressure, and holds the gas inside the bag until a preset time. The technology is already slated to appear on the Honda Life in Japan this November.

Outside the vehicle, Honda will be adding a new multi-view camera to the upcoming JDM Odyssey, much like Nissan's Around View Monitor. Four wide-angle CCD cameras will be placed in the front, back, and on the side mirrors. Each view can be seen individually or combined for a computer generated aerial shot of the car's movements. Because they're wide angle, Honda has also incorporated a view with the front camera that extends the driver's line of sight in low-visibility intersections, such as when exiting a parking garage (see right pic). It sounds similar to the front-mounted camera system on the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Unfortunately there's no word on when either technology will come to the U.S. Thanks for the tip, phaedra!

[Source: Honda]


PRESS RELEASE

Honda Develops World's First Driver-side i-SRS Airbag System with Continuously Staged Inflation

TOKYO, Japan, September 18, 2008 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has developed the world's first driver-side i-SRS airbag system that continuously stages the volume of airbag-inflating gas, thereby combining enhanced occupant protection with reduced occupant impact. Honda plans to implement the new continuously staged inflation i-SRS airbag system on the driver's side of the Life minicar to be released in Japan in November 2008.

A Honda innovation, the new i-SRS airbag system features a spiral-shaped seam structure and gas release control valve to control airbag deployment and pressure for faster deployment, reduced occupant impact and a longer period of inflation and occupant protection. As a result, the new system accommodates a broad range of occupant positions and potential collision situations.

Honda first began fundamental airbag research in 1971, and in 1987 became the first to introduce a driver-side SRS airbag system in an automobile manufactured in Japan. In 1990, Honda was the first automaker to introduce a passenger-side SRS airbag system in a vehicle manufactured in Japan. In 1998, Honda introduced the world's first inflator with a two-stage deployment system, as well as an i-side airbag system with an occupant position detection sensor. Continuing its tradition of innovation, Honda continues to be a world leader in researching, developing and introducing new automobile safety technologies.


Honda Develops New Multi-View Camera System to Provide View of Surrounding Areas to Support Comfortable and Safe Driving

TOKYO, Japan, September 18, 2008 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has developed a multi-view camera system which displays views from multiple wide-angle CCD cameras on the vehicle's navigation screen to reduce blind spots, support smooth parallel or garage parking, and support comfortable and safe driving in a 3-way intersection where there is limited visibility or on narrow roads. This new multi-view camera system will be applied first to the all-new Odyssey which is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in October of this year.

The multi-view camera system includes four wide-angle CCD cameras located in the front and rear of the vehicle and on the right and left door mirrors. The new system synthesizes images from these cameras and displays the synthesized image on the navigation screen with additional information including a projection line, which shows the vehicle's projected trajectory calculated based on steering angle information, and a reference line, which provides a reference for the distance between the vehicle and approaching obstacles. This provides support to the driver in parking, enhancing visibility, and avoiding contact in narrow driving conditions.

Based on its unique approach to safety, Honda has been researching and developing various visibility enhancing technologies from the standpoint of active safety. In 2001, Honda introduced a rear view camera system which enhances rear visibility while backing up; in 2003, Honda developed the Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) which improves nighttime visibility during turning; and in 2004, Honda developed the Intelligent Night Vision System which detects pedestrians that are in or approaching the vehicle's path and provides the driver warnings during nighttime driving. These technologies are already being installed to Honda vehicles which are currently on sale.

Configuration of the Multi-View Camera System
1. Front camera
2. Side cameras (driver side door mirror / front passenger side door mirror*)
3. Rear camera
4. Camera ECU
* with near-infrared LED light on the passenger side.